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Full text of "Port Sunlight; a record of its artistic & pictorial aspect"

UC-NRLF 














GIFT OF 




PORT SUNLIGHT 



PORT SUNLIGHT 



BY T- RAFFLES DAVISON HON. AR-I-BA 



>W 

n 



LONDON 
B-T-BATSFORD LIP 94 HIGH HOLBORN 






* 

.'-. - ' 

. . 



PREFACE. 

EVERYONE has heard of Port Sunlight, but it is doubtful whether 
many have formed a definite or just estimate of this unique example 
of industrial housing. The following pages are an attempt to record 
its best features and to show how far the ideal which inspired it has 
succeeded. To those who have not seen it Port Sunlight is perhaps 
regarded as one of many other similar places. It is in reality some- 
thing very different from all others, and especially does it stand by 
itself in the motive which founded it, which has carried it out, and 
which continues to administrate it. The breadth of vision which 
has made Port Sunlight possible is perhaps a greater matter than the 
village itself. This must inevitably have its effect, but the author 
ventures to predict that the artistic aspect of the place, which receives 
some permanent record herein, may also obtain full recognition and 
emulation as time goes on. 

Those who look for finality in any human accomplishment are 
doomed to disappointment, but the measure of our success will 
surely be in proportion to the quality of our aims. The last and 
best word we can say about the village of Port Sunlight is that the 
aim of its founder has been based on the belief that sympathy for 
the wants and well-being of our fellow-men may find a large expres- 
sion even in our business dealings. 

It is very delightful to contemplate the results of an undertaking 
like Port Sunlight a beneficent enterprise which no law could force 
from any public body or private employer, and which no mere 
compiler of accounts for capital and interest would dare to sanction. 
The ideal which prompted it is the real thing that matters, and 
though it may be maintained that the carrying out of it pays and 



vn 



373973 



pays well we may still hold fast to the hope that both those who 
make such villages and those who live in them will ever cherish some 
beliefs which are above and beyond all that which is concerned with 
a mere monetary return. How fortunate the workpeople who are 
enabled to live under such ideal conditions ! 

This little book is entirely due to the desire of the author him- 
self to illustrate the results of an enterprise which he has closely 
followed from its inception. The combination of the practical and 
the artistic has been achieved in Port Sunlight with outstanding 
success, and in these pages it is believed that this is fairly shown, 
though the building record is not yet by any means complete. 

It would be the merest affectation to leave out of these pages any 
mention of the founder, Sir William Hesketh Lever, Bart., one of the 
leaders of industrial enterprise in this country. Amongst the many 
things he has done for the benefit of his fellow-countrymen there is 
surely nothing we have more to thank him for than the homes which 
are the subject of this book. To provide employment for thousands 
and then to give them such homes to live in must be a good reward 
for a life's work to the man with an ideal. 

My thanks are due to Mr. Herbert Batsford, the head of his 
firm, who has not only superintended every detail connected with 
the production but has added personal interest and advice due to 
his special sympathy with the subject. To Mr. Alex. Paul, of the 
Editorial and Social Department, Port Sunlight, I am indebted for 
much kind help. 

The photographic views are largely from the studio of 
Mr. Geo. W. Davies, New Ferry. 



T. RAFFLES DAVISON. 



LONDON, 

August, 1916. 



Vlll 



CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

PREFACE . . . . . . . . vii 

CONTENTS .......... ix 

LIST OF PLATES ........ xi 

LIST OF TEXT ILLUSTRATIONS ...... xiii 

THE IDEAL ......... i 

THE FOUNDATION . ...... 5 

THE RESULT ......... 8 

CHARACTERISTICS ........ 10 

THE PLAN ..... . x ... 16 

GENERAL SCHEME ........ 20 

TREE PLANTING ........ 23 

COTTAGE PLANS ..... ... 25 

THE ILLUSTRATIONS . . . . . . . 31 



ix 



LIST OF PLATES. 

PLATE ARCHITECTS' NAMES 

1. Birdseye View of Port Sunlight. 

2. The Diamond, looking towards Art 

Gallery. 

3 . Greendale Road, looking towards Post 

Office. 

4. Westward View of Park Road, show- 

ing Kitchen Cottages . . . W. and S. Owen 

5. View in Park Road towards the 

Lyceum ..... W. and S. Owen 

6. South Side of Park Road. 

7. Greendale Road and Co-Partners' 

Club Annexe . . . . Grayson and Ould 

8. New Chester Road . . . . Huon A. Matear 

9. Cottages in Bath Street . . . J. J. Talbot 

10. The Dell. 

11. Semi-Quad of Cottages, Queen 

Mary's Drive, The Diamond . J. L. Simpson 

12. Park Road. Bridge Cottage in 

Foreground .... Douglas and Fordham 

13. The Causeway, looking towards) Corner Cottage by 

Christ Church . . . . ) Grayson and Ould 

14. Park Road Cottages. Lyceum in 

distance ..... W. and S. Owen 

1 5. Greendale Road. Cottage Group in 

foreground, reproducing Kenyon 

Old Hall J. J. Talbot 

xi 



PLATE 

1 6. Houses in Park Road. South Side 

17. Lever Free Library, Greendale Road 

1 8. A Bridge Street Group . 

19. Post Office . . . . 

20. Group of Cottages in Greendale Road, 

reproducing design of Kenyon 
Old Hall 

21. Bolton Road Parlour Houses . 
( Primrose Hill Cottages . 

( Greendale Road Cottages 
( Greendale Road Cottages 

o 

( Cottage Porch, Connolly Road 

24. The Bridge Inn . . ., 

25. Co-Partners' Club Hall . 

26. Open Air Swimming Bath 

27. A Recessed Group in Cross Street . 

28. Cottage in Wood Street . 

29. The Library Entrance of the Art 

Gallery 

30. S.E. View of Christ Church 

31. View under Tower, Christ Church . 

32. Lady Lever Memorial Porch, Christ 

Church . 

33. The Lady Lever Memorial 



ARCHITECTS' NAMES 
W. and S. Owen 
Maxwell and Tuke 
Grayson and Ould 
Grayson and Ould 



J. J. Talbot 
W. and S. Owen 
Jonathan Simpson 
Pain and Blease 
Grayson and Ould 
Huon A. Matear 
Grayson and Ould 
Grayson and Ould 
W. and S. Owen 
Grayson and Ould 
Douglas and Fordham 

W. and S. Owen 
W. and S. Owen 
W. and S. Owen 

W. and S. Owen 
f W. and S. Owen 



Sir W.Goscombe John, 
R.A., Sculptor 



xn 



LIST OF TEXT ILLUSTRATIONS. 

NUMBER PAGE 

1. The Lyceum . . . . . . ' . i 

2. The Dell Bridge 2 

3. Corniche Road before Reclaiming of Ravine . . 3 

4. Pool Bank 3 

5. Tennis Lawn ....... 4 

6. Christ Church from Bolton Road .... 4 

7. Bolton Road, looking towards Bebington Church . 5 

8. Co-Partners' Club and Bowling Green ... 6 

9. Carved Oak and Decorative Plaster Work on Cottage 

in Park Road South . . . . . . . 7 

10. Half-timber Cottages in Park Road ... 8 

11. Employees' Provident Stores and Collegium . . 9 

12. Cottages in Corniche Road . . . . .10 

13. An Angle Bay in Bridge Street . .10 

14. Some Park Road Houses . . . . .11 

15. Cottages in New Chester Road . . . . , 12 

1 6. Group at angle of Lower Road and Central Road . 1 3 

17. A Recessed Group in Greendale Road . . 14 
i 8. Cottages on semi-circular plan in Lower Road . 14 

19. First Cottages built at Port Sunlight . 15 

20. A Three-gabled Group in New Chester Road . 1 5 
p.s. xiii b 



NUMBER PAGE 

21. A Picturesque Corner in Park Road South . .16 

22. Bebington Road Cottages .. . . . 17 

23. Cottages, Pool Bank . . . . . .18 

24. Cottages, Pool Bank . . . . . 19 

25. Hulme Hall ........ 20 

26. Gladstone Hall . ; . . . . .21 

27. Park Road by Poets' Corner . . . . .22 

28. Bridge Cottage ....... 23 

29. The Gymnasium ....... 24 

30. The Technical Institute . . . . . 25 

31. Wood Street Cottages . . . . . .26 

32. A Garden Corner ....... 27 

33. Plans of Kitchen Cottages . . . . .28 

34. Plans of Parlour Cottages . . . 29 

35. Plans of Kitchen Cottages ..... 30 

36. The Bridge Inn . . . . . . 31 

37. The Girls' Club ....... 32 

38. An Example of Simple Treatment . . . -35 

39. A General Plan of the Village . . . -36 



xiv 



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' -** ^; I< -."'Tl' > V ! i*r) s-iS' ; A.' .'" 

'-..' M-J,^. - ^'^3*^^ <j St A 




PLATE I. 



aT^ST 7 ' 



K->^ *". i*i x - w ff rfi^STTi-^ !.' r *^-r* * 




BIRDSEYE VIEW OF PORT SUNLIGHT. 




DOUGLAS AND FORDHAM. 
Architects. 



I. THE LYCEUM. 



The Ideal. 

THE individual or community which has no ideal is to be pitied. 
For, whatever may happen, there is always a better chance for those 
who maintain a high ideal than for those who, without one, adven- 
ture themselves against the chances and difficulties that surround us. 
Nothing is more disheartening to the idealist and reformer than to 
find not only thousands of individuals but whole communities 
without a guiding star of faith and hope. 

How fortunate is a place like Port Sunlight, when we compare 
its history and possibilities with those of London ! It is pleasant to 
realise that what has become a problem of such a very serious kind 
in London after so many years of haphazard and chance, is happily 
barred out of the horizon in the definitely schemed plan of the 
garden city or the model village. But it is one thing to have a 




DOUGLAS AND FORDHAM, 

Architects. 



2. THE DELL BRIDGE. 



scheme or an ideal and another to have a good one. Moreover, as 
to whether it is good or bad, or wholly or only partially good or 
bad, the scheme does not always show until it has been some time in 
operation. In time the awkward corners may be rounded off, or 
they may become more acute, but the actual life of the community 
in any so-called model village or town soon proves the value or 
the unimportance of those features which have been part of the 
design. 

What most impresses itself on those who study the industrial 
village of Port Sunlight is the fact that it is the definite outcome 
of a genuine ideal. Whether its present state has surpassed 
the hopes of its founder or has failed to realise them, we can at 
any rate see that this was meant to be something better than 
what had been before, and that no effort was to be wanting 
to secure this. We are sure that the inconsequent charm and 
the haphazard picturesqueness of an old English village were 
not the main objects in view, but that the aim was a conveniently 
planned and healthy settlement laid out with all possible artistic 
thought on sound business lines. Garden grounds, roads, and 
open spaces were to be ample without being wasteful, houses 




3. CORNICHE ROAD BEFORE RECLAIMING OF RAVINE. 

were to be picturesque but sensibly planned. Avenues were 
to be planted and gardens laid out with needful limitations as 
to size and direction. The 
individuality of separate 
gardens was to be subor- 
dinated to a definite idea 
of communal amenity. 
Variety of plan was to be 
obtained only within a 
certain economic range. 

It is surely often realised 
that many of our beautiful 
gardens could not have 
been laid out in a complete 
and detailed scheme from 
the beginning, but that a 
good deal of their success 
has been evolved from a 4- POOL BANK. 





gradual development of possibilities. So also whilst the pic- 
turesque charm of an old town or village may result from the 
chances and changes of many years, we cannot expect that fully 
developed schemes for new settlements can attain perfection at 
the outset. The constant maintenance of an ideal in the life of 
a town or village is, therefore, of the greatest import, and no 
niggardly spirit should stand 
in the way of changes for 
which time alone may prove 
the need. 

The best conceived plans 
for the present time are not 
necessarily the best for the 
future, and an insistent look 
out for possible improve- 
ments is the only safe- 
guard for the future even 
where the most careful 
design and thought have been 
devoted to the beginnings 
of such a successful enter- 
prise as that which is here 

, , 6. CHRIST CHURCH FROM BOLTON 

recorded. ROAD> 





BOLTON ROAD LOOKING TOWARDS BEBINGTON CHURCH. 



The Foundation. 

The life of a village or town must be created of enduring 
materials and based on some sort of sound business principles. It is 
the very essence of the village of Port Sunlight that it is claimed 
to be a sound business enterprise. Though much more than half 
a million pounds of capital spent on land and buildings has been 
left out of count for interest, it is still maintained that all outlays 
have in the main been justified by sound business principles. That 
the well-being and comfort of their workpeople is a valuable business 
asset is no new belief with employers of labour. The belief has 
been acted upon for many years past, but its application has made 
rapid strides in more recent times. It is probable, however, that 
there is not another place where this belief has been so very com- 
pletely demonstrated as at Port Sunlight. The inhabitants of this 
fortunate village appear to have been saved every needless risk, and 
have even escaped the snare of mere profit-sharing, in favour of 





GRAVSON AND OULD, 
Architects. 



8. CO-PARTNERS' CLUB AND BOWLING GREEN. 



prosperity-sharing and copartnership. It will be of interest here to 
quote from a Paper by the founder, Sir W. H. Lever, on prosperity- 
sharing, in November, i 900. " The truest and highest form of 
enlightened self-interest requires that we pay the fullest regard to 
the interest and welfare of those around us, whose well-being we 

' O 

must bind up with our own, and with whom we must share our 
prosperity. We cannot live in comfort with others if we do not 
share our comforts with them. If we wish men to be honest 
towards ourselves, we must be honest with them. If we wish men 
to help us to achieve prosperity, they must feel assured that we will 
share that prosperity with them. If capital and management think 
of nothing but their own narrowest, selfish self-interest, without 
a thought for labour, care nothing for the comfort or welfare of 
labour, care nothing whether labour is well or ill-housed, whether 
labour is provided with opportunity for reasonable and proper 
recreation and relief from toil or not, then capital and management 
are blind to their own highest interest. . . . Also the converse of the 
above is equally true. . . . If labour adopts the spirit of enlightened 
and intelligent self-interest, and if capital and management do the 
same, if each recognise the principle that by looking after the 
interests of the other they are taking the surest means to achieve 

6 



their own self- 
interest, business 
will be healthier, 
happiness in busi- 
ness will be greater, 
the prosperity of 
the business of the 
whole country will 
be assured, and the 
bogey of foreign 
competition will be 
laid once and for all. 
I venture to submit 
that prosperity- 
sharing on the basis 
of enlightened self- 

o 

interest will secure 
this." 

It is the aim 
which lies behind 
such words as these 
which is of real im- 
portance, and makers 
possible the creation 
of beautiful homes 
and pleasant sur- 
roundings. We may be quite sure that this is the one vital factor 
in all our efforts, and no excuse need be offered for the reiteration 
of this point in the pages of this book. We should all live for 
some sort of ideals, and in proportion as these are right and good, 
so shall we find the measure of our success. 




Q. CARVED OAK AND DECORATIVE PLASTER 
WORK ON COTTAGE IN PARK ROAD SOUTH. 

W. OWEM, Architect. 




W. & S. OWEN, 

Architects. 



10. HALF-TIMBER COTTAGES IN PARK ROAD. 



The Result. 

It is only by comparing the conditions at Port Sunlight with 
those of other residential areas that the full measure of their value 
can be ascertained. In some respects the outsider is perhaps a better 
judge of the success of such a village than are the residents, who 
come to take a good deal for granted. Thus the visitor who now 
for the first time goes to Port Sunlight and realises the extent and 
quality of the work done is naturally much impressed by the variety 
and interest which the whole village affords, whilst those who are in 
constant residence may not realise it so keenly. It is hardly possible 
that those who live in the many charming cottages which have 
sprung up in this country in recent years, or who have lived a long 




time in some of the 
best of our old 
English cottages, 
can take that 
delight in their 
appearance which 
the detached 
observer feels. It 
is quite possible 
that wide staring 

o 

panes of glass and 
sash windows and 
treeless streets have 
as many admirers 
amongst the aver- 
age public as are 
f o u n d f o r the 
quaint latticed win- 
dows and leafy 
avenues of Port 
Sunlight. But the 
air of detachment which inevitably goes with the outside observer 
of new places is an element of some moment in arriving at an 
estimate of results. It is obvious that the estimation of a place 
like this may be based upon practical issues chiefly, or from the 
purely artistic standpoint, or again, from a point of view which 
includes both. The main concern of this book is to emphasise 
the artistic and picturesque qualities of the village whilst not 
overlooking the fact that artistic values should not be obtained 
by the sacrifice of practical needs. This could be the only 
possible point of view which would give final satisfaction to the 
business man. It is maintained that no undertaking in the world 
which has been based on purely artistic desires and which has 
had no basis of practical value has been of any lasting value. 
The whole foundation of Port Sunlight is believed to consist or 

9 



ii. 



EMPLOYEES' PROVIDENT STORES 
COLLEGIUM. 



AND 



DOUGLAS AND FORDHAM, 

Architects. 




12. COTTAGES IN CORNICHE ROAD. 

GRAYSON- AND OULD, 
Architects. 

and allotments in preference to the 
spaces which are devoted to indi- 
vidual gardens surrounding each 
cottage in so many other places. 
There is something to be said for 
and against this. The general 
amenity of the village gains by the 
Port Sunlight method, whilst the 

O ' 

special charm of individual gardens 
which enthusiastic efforts produce 
is naturally lacking. In this way 
we get less value of contrasts, and 
lose something of that spirit of 
emulation which spurs the indi- 
vidual to special effort. Of one 
thing, however, there can be no 
doubt. The absence of the many 
dividing lines of fences between 
each cottage frontage produces a 
breadth of effect along the lines of 

10 



practical values and 
sound business 
principles. 

Character is tics . 

One thing which 
is at once obvious 
from the general 
scheme is the adop- 
tion of open spaces, 
communal gardens, 




AN ANGLE BAY IN BRIDGE 
STREET. 



W. & S. OWEN, 

Architects. 




14. SOME PARK ROAD HOUSES. 



roadways which is in itself very pleasing. From the point of view 
of the town-planner who looks for the collective result this is, of 
course, very satisfactory. 

Another thing which will be noticed in the illustrations is the 
elevation of many of the houses above the level of the roadway. 
This gives a much wider and pleasanter outlook from the windows 
of the cottages, besides producing a much better effect in the build- 
ings from the roadway than when they are placed on the same level. 
The sloping green banks leading up to terraced paths in front of 
the cottages are a distinctive feature of the village. (See PI. 4.) 

It has been maintained that without a good deal of monotony 
you cannot get very fine architectural results, and it must be admitted 
that many examples go to prove it. There is a large surface of 



1 1 




15. COTTAGES IN NEW CHESTER ROAD. 

W. OWEN, Architect. 



monotony in the 
Pyramids ; there is 
a marvellous mono- 
tony of detail in the 
Houses of Parlia- 
ment ; there is a 
boundless monotony 
in the house fronts 
in Gower Street, yet 
all these have been 
admired. So this 
line of argument 
might have sug- 
gested the continued 
employment of only 
one architect, or at least only one type of design, for the cottages 
at Port Sunlight. The great variety of designs in the cottages, 
which has proved one of the attractions of the place, has, however, 
in some sense at least, justified itself. Even the flamboyant Gothic 
dormers and the stepped Belgian gables have a reacting influence on 
some of their neighbours, though we might consider the latter rather 
unpractical on the one hand, or the former too pretentious on the 
other. Moreover, whilst we wonder at the generosity of view which 
could bestow some of these solid oak-framed structures with their 
wealth of carving and enriched plaster panellings on the working 
classes of an industrial village, we cannot but feel grateful to the 
hand that gave them, though we ourselves may never be able to 
afford such luxuries of the building art for ourselves. May we not 
accept these as symbols of some kindly gratitude with which a pro- 
fitable company decorates the homes of its industrial population ? 
Honestly, we cannot regret these bonnes bouches in the building 
scheme, though they bravely put out of sight the counting-house 
and the rates of interest ! These are really very welcome ebullitions 
from that solid undercurrent of practical economy which has placed 
the whole concern on a sound business footing. 

12 




1 6. GROUP AT ANGLE OF LOWER ROAD AND CENTRAL ROAD. 

J. L. SIMPSON, Architect. 

This element of variety which is so marked in the design of the 
cottages at Port Sunlight has been obtained without much departure 
from the genuine English type. Even where a Dutch or Belgian 
character appears it is carried out with something of the breadth 
and simplicity which one associates with purely English work. 
There is very little, if anything, that could be called freakish or odd. 
The stepped gables or the flamboyant dormers which vary the treat- 
ment are not unacceptable as variants. As to the use of oak framing 
with plaster panels the familiar Old English style no one can 
deny its charm or fail to wish there were even more of it. Nothing 
is so picturesque and nothing so cheerful of aspect as the black and 
white work which forms so frequent a feature in the earlier buildings 
erected. One only regrets that it is difficult to justify it from a 
strictly commercial point of view, especially if it is executed in a 
sound and substantial manner. Whether the half-timber work is 
used for the whole building, or only partially in connection with the 
fine red sandstone of the district, or with bricks or flint-work, it has 
an undeniable and enduring charm, and we owe much of our 




ERNEST GEORGE AND YEATES, j ?> A REC ESSED GROUP IN GREENDALE ROAD. 




c. H. REILLY, jg COTTAGES ON SEMI-CIRCULAR PLAN IN LOWER ROAD. 

Architect. 




w. OWEN. Architect. 19. FIRST COTTAGES BUILT AT PORT SUNLIGHT. 

Awarded Grand Prix, Brussels Exhibition, 1910, for their reproduction there. 







r.RAYSON AND OULD, 2Q A THREE-GABLED GROUP IN NEW CHESTER ROAD. 

Architects. 




W. * S. OWEN, 

Architects. 



21. A PICTURESQUE CORNER IN PARK ROAD SOUTH. 



pleasure in the whole appearance of Port Sunlight to the liberal 
views of the founder, who did not permit his vision of a beautiful 
village to be obscured by the clouds of philistinism ! You 
cannot, of course, pretend that such gables as those shown in our 
illustrations are necessary to cottage building. Nor is it surely 
possible for even a Port Sunlight to be entirely built in such a way ; 
but the pleasure produced by such character of work is, after all, 
common property, and is a valuable item in regard to the whole 
scheme. 



The Plan. 

The general plan of Port Sunlight shows now an inhabited area 
nearly a mile long by nearly half that wide, bounded on the longer 
sides by the new Chester Road (on the east) and the main railway 
lines to London, and Greendale Road (on the west). (See No. 39.) 

16 




W. & S. OWEN, 
Architects. 



22. BEBIN ? GTON ROAD COTTAGES. 



There is enough variety of level to avoid the monotony of an entirely 
flat area, and one piece of natural dell, well grown over with trees and 
shrubs, forms a delightful feature near the Works end of the village. 
Goods from the Works are loaded, on the one side, into railway 
wagons, and on the other into barges on the Bromborough Pool, from 
which they emerge into the River Mersey. From this pool there 
used to be gutters or ravines, up which the muddy tidal water 
flowed right up into where the village now stands, but these have 
all been cut off from the tide and, with the exception of the dell 
above referred to, filled up. 

One very notable innovation on the common practice of estate 
development is the fronting of houses towards the railway instead 
of the long lines of unlovely backs which usually exhibit all their 
unhappy privacies to the railway passengers. Though one long 
thoroughfare -the Greendale Road runs alongside the railway 
embankment for the greater part of a mile, one cannot feel it to be 
other than one of the pleasantest roads on the estate. One of the 
illustrations indicates the excellent result here obtained. 

17 




WILSON AND TALBOT, 

Architects. 



23. COTTAGES, POOL BANK. 



Every intelligent student of town-planning knows that you 
cannot rule out a number of rectangular plots arranged on axial lines 
without due consideration of varying levels and a proper expression 
of local features. Moreover, the planning of many right-angled 
plots is not in itself a very desirable aim. But at Port Sunlight 
it was possible to create some rectangular spaces with the Art 
Gallery and the Church on their axial lines in such a way as to make 
a striking and orderly scheme as a central feature in the estate. 
There are numbers of winding or diagonal roads which give variety 
and interest and afford pleasant lines of perspective to the groups 
of houses. 

In an especial way one might claim that the best results in the 
planning of a new village will be obtained through bearing in mind 




DOUGLAS AND MINSHALL, 
Architects 



24. COTTAGES, POOL BANK. 




W. & S. OWEN, 

Architects. 



25. HULME HALL. 



the classical saying, " Ars est celare artem" In such a scheme 
we do not wish to be confronted with buildings of ponderous 
dignity or a big display of formal lines and places. Anything 
approaching ostentation or display is surely out of place, and what 
we want is something expressing the simplicity and unobtrusiveness 
which is the tradition handed down to us through the charm of the 
old English village. This is best attained by variety in direction of 
roads and shapes of houses by forming unexpected corners, recessed 
spaces, and winding vistas. 



General Scheme. 

Port Sunlight village (founded in 1888), apart from the Works, 
covers 222 acres, on which the houses may approach 2,000 for a 
population of 10,000. The tenancies of the houses are limited 
to employes of the Works. Already over 1,000 houses have been 
built or are in process of building, and the length of broad roadways 
exceeds five miles. The first block of cottages built in 1888 i 

20 




W. & S. OWHN, 
Architects. 



GLADSTONE HALL. 



was reproduced at the Brussels Exhibition of 1910, and was 
awarded the Grand Prix. It is intended to limit the number of 
cottages to ten per acre, and it is hoped to keep below that 
maximum. 

The general width of the roadways is 40 feet, giving 24 feet to 
the road, and 8 feet for each footpath ; but there are roads 48 feet 
wide, including footpaths. The paths are flagged along the central 
portion only. 

In a progressive world, and especially in such a progressive part 
of it as Port Sunlight, one cannot hope to give a record which will 
for long represent existing facts. The arrangements which have 
been made for the benefit of the inhabitants of this village have 
necessarily been altered or modified. At the present time the 
buildings for general use include Christ Church (No. 6 and Pis. 
31 33), an admirable Late Gothic building in a central position, 
the Schools, which accommodate about 1,600 children, a Lyceum, a 
Cottage Hospital, a Gymnasium (No. 29), an open-air Swimming 
Bath (PI. 26), Post Office (PL 19), a Village Inn (No. 36 and 
PI. 24), Village Stores, a Fire Station, the Auditorium, to seat 
3,000, the Collegium (No. n), the Gladstone Hall (No. 26), the 



21 



Hulme Hall (No. 25), Co-Partners' Club with billiard rooms and 
bowling green^(No. 8), a Village Fountain, and, finally, the 
Hulme Art Gallery 
(PI. 29), which is 
destined to hold 
the Public Library 
as well as fine col- 
]ections--of Pictures, 
Pottery, and Fur- 
niture. 

Port Sunlight has 
been an object of 
attraction to visitors 
for years, and this 
is not only due to 
the interest and 
variety of its cottage 
houses, and as a 
model for town 
planners the world 
over, but to the 
whole - hearted en - 
deavour to meet all 
the practical and 
social needs of every- 
day life which is 
expressed in its 
various public build- 
ings. But another 
source of great and 
enduring attraction 

O 

lies in its Art 
Gallery. Here it outdistances every other village of the kind, for 
this Art Gallery holds no fortuitous collection of odd things, but 
carefully chosen examples of fine art got together by expert 

22 




27. PARK ROAD BY POETS' CORNER. 



kn owl edge. 
The pictures, 
china, furni- 
ture, etc., 
would alone 
bring many 
visitors to study 
such a superb 
and fi n e 1 y - 
housed collec- 
tion of works 
of art. 



Tree Planting. 




DOUGLAS AND FORDHAM, 
Architects. 



28. BRIDGE COTTAGE. 



We are apt 
to forget that 

a newly created village or town does not reap all its benefits at 
once. Not only as regards the results of growth in trees and 
shrubs, the development of gardens, and the mellowing influences 
of time and tone, but also in relation to all the amenities of social 
life, we must wait for those influences which can only come in a 
gradual process. The subject of trees alone, of the best method 
to deal with living growth, is not finished with for some time, if 

O O ' ' 

ever. Some of the avenues at Port Sunlight are charming now, 
and show an admirable balance of effect between trees and build- 
ings. Down the avenue of poplars one of our sketches (PI. 3) 
shows how delightfully the Club and the Library peep out, and 
how well the vista leads up to the Post Office beyond so in some 
of the winding roads the effect even in summer is just right. But 
trees keep growing, and unless the houses are to suffer they will 
have to be cut down and some removed entirely. Then, again, the 
Diamond (PI. 2) (which in spite of its name is a great oblong 
open space), bordered by groups of cottages and. bounded at one 

23 




W. & S. OWEN, Architects. 



29. THE GYMNASIUM. 



end by the new Art Gallery, will very well bear all the height the 
trees will ever reach. This is a very fine open space, and borders 
of big trees will help, and never belittle it. Possibly the secret of 
successful planting amongst cottage houses is to have plenty of 
slow-growing evergreens, and forest trees only at intervals. It is 
quite certain that if the garden spaces at Port Sunlight were 
punctuated with decoratively placed evergreens, and inclosed by 
living borders of box or yew, the result would be both pleasing 
and long-lasting. The open spaces now secured should make for 
ever pleasant oases amongst the long lines of houses, and even if 
all the tree avenues had to go, there would still be left much to 
excite the envy of those who have to live in our dirty old towns. 

One of our sketches shows the avenue which leads to Christ 
Church from Greendale Road (PI. 13). It is obvious that the 
sturdy breadth and dignity of the church will never lose anything, 
however lofty the avenue becomes. Unfortunately we cannot 
afford the space in the thoroughfares for the trees so that they 

24 




THE TECHNICAL INSTITUTE. 



will not be a trouble to the buildings some day. The only 
possible way would be to plant them down the centre of the 
roads, so keeping the traffic in the two opposite directions in its 
right place. This is a counsel of perfection, but it has been done 
where wide road spaces were practicable. 

It will be noted that at either side of the Diamond the land 
round and between the houses is bordered by a low wall through 
which steps lead up to the pathways. The effect is very pleasing 
and might be repeated in other cases with advantage. 



Cottage Plans. 

An evidence of the careful economic spirit which has guided 
the whole enterprise may be found in the plans of the buildings at 
Port Sunlight. There are here no freaks or features created 
simply for picturesque effect, nor any serious attempt to give the 

25 



occupants something 
they do not want. 
It will probably be a 
long time before any 
great reform in cot- 
tage planning can be 
maintained in face of 
the varying views of 
the tenants. Thus 
the rooms must be 
big enough, but they 
must not be so large 
as to cause needless 
work. The better 
class cottages must 
have parlours, and 
only those who can- 
not afford them will 
go without. Plaster 
walls seem to be 
almost always pre- 
ferred to those lined 
with boarding, white- 
washed bricks, or any 
other healthy or 
artistic departure 
from the modern 

British type. Thus we find that the compact and economic plans 
in the village are what give the most universal satisfaction. But 
in the scheme of the planning the juxtaposition of the cottages 
has been dealt with in a free and varied manner, so that we find 
rows of houses, or L-shaped blocks, or semi-quads, or curved 
frontages, or semi-splayed quads. A census of opinion would 
probably be all in favour of straight rows, and have been dead 
against the judicious variety which gives so much interest to 

26 




31. WOOD STREET COTTAGES. 



the place. Theoretically, one would perhaps like those who 
live in cottages to give up the fetish of the parlour and have 
one really ample living-room instead. But the inherent yearn- 
ing for privacy is an English characteristic which closes the door 
of domestic affairs from the casual visitor. Moreover, the sin 
of affectation creeps into all our buildings, and thus the cottage 
apes the little villa, the little villa apes the large one, the large one 
apes the mansion, and the mansion apes the palace. 

The cottage reformer would of course say that the cottage 
tenant would be far happier and healthier as a rule without a 
parlour, for then he 
would have a fine 
living - room which 
might be free of all 
incumbrances and 
free of draughts. 
But it has to be 
taken for granted 
that most who can 
a ffo rd parlours 
prefer to have 
them ; therefore the 
plans are of two 
types, the kitchen 
cottage and the 
parlour cottage. 
Our illustrations 
show how these are 
planned, and it is 
not of little interest 
to see how varied 
may be the exterior 
treatment as de- 
veloped from these 
plans. 




32. 

27 



A GARDEN CORNER. 



COTTAGES, PORT SUNLIGHT. 



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FIRST FLOOR PLAN. 






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33. KITCHEN COTTAGES. 

Some of the plans which have been found successful we give 
illustrations of. These (Nos. 33 -35) are carefully schemed. There 
is a bath in each and three bedrooms, each with a fireplace. The 
W.C.'s are entered from outside. The parlour cottage plan is 
also given. It shows what a fine living-room might be obtained in 
a scheme which eliminated the parlour. It is obvious that the 
question of cost is more or less elusive. The original cost of the 
smaller cottages was ^200, and of the parlour cottages ^330 to 
^350, but this has risen now to 330 for cottages and ^550 for 
parlour houses. At the present time the gross rentals of the 
kitchen cottages average now 6s. ^d. each, whilst for the parlour 
cottages the rent would be ys. 6</, excluding rates and taxes.* 

In any estimate of the value of Port Sunlight as a housing 
scheme it must always be remembered, as Mr. W. L. George has 
pointed out, that it is an experiment rather in ideal than in cheap 

* These are prosperity-sharing rents (see remarks as to interest on capital written off, p. 5), 



housing. This question of ideal was the first point referred to in 
this record. That it has been largely realised and entirely justified 
is something for which its founder must feel profoundly glad. 
All sorts of economies and precautions might have been adopted 
which have been boldly and generously set aside. The ideal was 
always kept in view, and if it ever disappears it will be only after the 
disappearance of the original founder himself ! It is a pleasant 
task to gather together in this little book the evidence of belief 
that a more real partnership between capitalist and workpeople 
would work a lasting good. That good is not to be measured in a 
notation of gold, nor even amongst those who live and thrive 
under the immediate benefits of Port Sunlight. Its influence goes 

round the world 
like the beneficent 
rays which are sym- 
bolised in its own 
expressive title. 

Many of those 
who scan these 
pages will never see 
Port Sunlight itself, 
and so will not 
realise how much 
better is the reality 
than the printed 
page. In judging 
the results it must 
never be forgotten 
that the saving 
grace of common 
sense has been a 
constant guide in 
its ultimate deve- 
lopment and ex- 

34. PARLOUR COTTAGES. prcssion. No one 

29 




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FIRST FLOOR PLAN. 




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35. KITCHEN COTTAGES. 




GKAYSON AND OULD, 
Architects. 



36. THE BRIDGE INN. 



could pretend that 
these thousand cot- 
tages form the finest 
possible aggregate of 
architectural skill in 
individual design or 
co-ordinated effect. 
Here and there one 
finds perhaps an 
exaggeration of sim- 
plicity on the one 
hand or of richness 
on the other ; in 
some cases the 

restraint may be a little obvious or the picturesqueness a little 
overstrained, but the balance of effect is that of a well-ordered 
and varied interest. To realise the value of Port Sunlight as an 
industrial village one has only to compare it with other enterprises. 
The architect can read clearly enough from it many lessons in 
design, a few of what to avoid perhaps, but many that he may 
emulate. The social reformer sees an object lesson in the value 
of a pleasant and well-planned community of houses in which 
individuality is left ample freedom of expression. The projector 
of industrial enterprise realises the mutual benefits of good and 
attractive housing. Little, if anything, in this country can be com- 
pared to it in its general measure of success. This success should 
act as a stimulus to an ever-widening effort to make the improved 
conditions of daily life one of the definite aims of industrial 
enterprise generally. 



The Illustrations. 

The full-page Plates 3 to 27 give an idea of the road views 
and the relation of the houses to them, with their perspective 

3 1 



effects in straight or winding lines of frontage, with quadrangular 
recesses as in Pis. 1 1 and 20, or where the L-shaped blocks of 
cottages leave a good open space as in PI. 9. The sturdy tower 
of Christ Church is a telling feature at the end of the Causeway (see 
PL 13), and the picturesque pavilion roof with its clever tiling 
makes a telling feature at the junction of the Causeway with Green- 
dale Road. It is hard to imagine anything more delightful in the 
early spring or autumn than the Greendale Road where it approaches 
the post office, with the peeps of the buildings through the tall 
poplars. The view towards the post office in both directions 

(Pis. 3 and 7) are 
equally pleasing. No- 
thing shows better the 
good qualities of an 
Old English half- 
timber building than 
such a setting. There 
is hardly anything in 
the village which comes 
back on one with such 
recurring charm as the 
row of five gables in 
the Park Road cottages 
shown in Pis. 5 and 14. In PL 5 we see something of the 
delightful result of the continuous sloping banks from the 
road up to the cottage, and a certain picturesque irregularity 
where the old hawthorn bushes which formerly existed have been 
left at intervals. This vertical timber framing has a simple 
breadth of effect which is well shown in Pis. 4, 5, and 14. It 
would be difficult to do justice to Greendale Road with its con- 
tinuous line of 97 cottages, which form a picture of great variety 
and interest as viewed from the passing trains, and give us a long 
perspective of trees and houses, broken at the point of view of 
our sketch (PL 1 5) by the half-timber group of cottages which is 
an exact replica of the design of Kenyon Old Hall. This delightful 

32 




J. L. SIMPSON, 

Architect. 



37- 



THE GIRLS' CLUB. 



group is also shown in PL 20. There is nothing more satisfac- 
tory in proportion and colour than the recessed group of cottages 
which fronts the Diamond in the Queen Mary's Drive. The yellow- 
grey stone slates, the red brick chimneys, the white rough cast, dark 
boarding, and robust half-timber work in the flanking gables, make 
up a picture of colour and texture which is most satisfactory (PL 2). 
The cottages here have the advantage of a raised terrace bounded 
by a stone wall. One of the nearest approaches to the charm of an 
old English village is probably the L-shaped group of cottages in 
Bath Street (see PL 9). A photograph of the Dell has been taken 
to show one of the natural features which has been turned to so 
good an account in the village (see PL 10). The cottages looking 
over the roadways surrounding the Dell have delightful outlooks 
over here. Our view was taken in the winter, so as to show some- 
thing of the bridge and houses. The stone bridge at the end of the 
Dell is an excellent architectural feature (see Nos. i and 2), and 
groups with remarkably good result below the Lyceum buildings. 

No illustrative account of Port Sunlight could be considered 
complete without some reference to Christ Church, which is a central 
and interesting feature. Its solidly built red stone walls and stone 
slated roof, and its finely appointed interior with a wealth of enriched 
oak timber work, commands one's attention whether as architect or 
layman. It speaks of strength and endurance and a sincere love and 
study of our traditional English Gothic. Its value is sufficiently 
apparent both from the social and the artistic point of view. In one 
respect, however, this church may claim a special distinction, for at 
its western end has been erected a richly detailed narthex, with a 
vaulted roof, forming a shrine for a beautiful sculptured memorial 
to the late Lady Lever. Both in idea and execution, this forms a 
striking and touching memorial to a gracious lady whose kindliness 
of heart endeared her to all. Children were her special friends, and 
this is reflected in the two charming figures of children at one end 
of the sarcophagus. Sir Goscombe John, the sculptor, has never 
been more successful than in this tenderly and gracefully modelled 
reclining figure of Lady Lever. This vaulted porch, with its richly 

33 



carved bosses (on one of which are painted the arms of Sir William), 
largely enhances the value of the memorial sarcophagus itself, which 
is one of the most satisfactory of recent years. The illustration of 
the interior (see PL 33) is from a large drawing exhibited by the 
architect at the Royal Academy in 1916. 

Our illustrations, in a general way, represent what may be taken 
to be the best examples of design in the village. They do not, of 
course, show all the best. In PI. 28 we have a very good example 
of the quality of detail which lifts the work at Port Sunlight so far 
above the level of the ordinary speculative cottage building. Here 
we find carved oak beams and posts and brackets and barges, and an 
excellent piece of modelled plaster work in the gable. When it is 
remembered that this is no isolated example, we see how unusually 
liberal has been the hand that directed the outlay. Corners like the 
picturesque grouping of chimneys in No. 28, or the carved oak and 
modelled plaster in the corner gable (No. 9), would not have 
existed in an industrial village had not the founder been imbued 
with a keen appreciation of architectural values. One would present 
a sketch proposal for such a type of cottages with some trepidation 
to the average building owner ! One of the noticeable bits of rich 
detail is to be found in the Flamboyant and Gothic dormers in PI. 
27. We have in No. 32 a delightful corner of half-timber building 
with a sweet little garden foreground. The old Cheshire type of 
half-timber work is tellingly expressed in the corner houses in Park 
Road (PL 1 6). Other especially effective corners are seen in Nos. 
ii and 27. A contrast between Queen Anne brick gables and the 
half-timber house is effectively shown in No. 21. Contrasting again 
with the richness of carved oak and modelled plaster in the more 
elaborate buildings, we come across delightfully simple designs, such 
as Nos. 15 and 17, which may some day very well pass for ancient 
buildings. 

Amongst the conspicuously successful of recent groups is that of 
the parlour houses in Bolton Road (PL 21), which has the advan- 
tage of a good setting on the front of a circular place. This only 
needs a terrace wall and some formal planting to make it one of the 

34 



pictures of the village. What an enticing prospect opens up in the 
possibilities of formal evergreen planting amongst all these cottage 
homes ! 

It is with some feeling of regret that more sketches have not 
been given showing examples of interesting ornamental detail 
which lift the quality of these cottage homes so much above the 
ordinary level of industrial homes. But the limits of the volume 
place an inevitable check on one's desires. If the author has been 
able to convey to his readers a tithe of the pleasure he has felt in 
the subject of this little book he will be amply rewarded. 




38. AN EXAMPLE OF SIMPLE TREATMENT. 

Enough has perhaps been said in appreciation of some points 
which mark out the qualities of Port Sunlight. Much more might 
be written, but for the rest we leave the illustrations to tell their 
own tale. We have shown nothing of the great auditorium which 
seats 3,000 people, or of the detailed appointments of the new Art 
Gallery, but we have a sketch of the splendid open air swimming 
pool and our birds-eye view of the Diamond gives some notion of 
the pleasant grouping of the homes amongst pleasant open spaces 
and tree-lined avenues. A great deal of what we do not show is left 
in reserve for those who can find opportunity to go and see for them- 
selves what this wonderful scheme of industrial housing can teach. 

35 




THE DIAMOND, 



PLATE 2. 




KING TOWARDS ART GALLERY. 



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PLATE 12. 




PARK ROAD. BRIDGE COTTAGE IN FOREGROUND. 



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2 

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PLATE 19. 




POST OFFICE. 



' , . 



PLATE 22. 




PRIMROSE HILL COTTAGES. 




GREENDALE ROAD COTTAGES. 



PLATE 




GREENDALE ROAD COTTAGES. 




COTTAGE PORCH, CONNOLLY ROAD. 



. 



. :: 





J1 



PLATE 28. 




COTTAGE IN WOOD STREET. 



PLATE. 




VIEW UNDER TOWER, CHRIST CHURCH. 



PLATE 33. 



33SsSW9sil^5Sra 




THE LADY LEVER MEMORIAL. 



UNIVEESITY OF CALIFOENIA LIBEAEY, 
BEEKELEY 



THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE 
STAMPED BELOW 

Books not returned on time are subject to a fine of 
50c per volume after the third day overdue, increasing 
to $1.00 per volume after the sixth day. Books not in 
demand may be renewed if application is made before 
expiration of loan period. 



CT 24 mi- 






1978 



20m-ll,'20 



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